Duncan Fire Chief Mike McKinlay leads firefighters into the Scotiabank branch on Truck Road Friday morning after a malfunctioning are conditioning unit sent fumes through the building. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Air conditioning breakdown causes another Duncan building evacuation

Second incident in two days

The Duncan fire department had to deal with yet another malfunctioning air conditioning unit Friday morning that saw the evacuation of much of the Cowichan Health and Wellness Centre on Trunk Road.

The fire department was called after employees and early-morning customers at the ATMs in the centre’s Scotiabank branch reported the coppery smell of what they believed to be electrical wires burning.

“There was no smoke but the electrical smell was really heavy,” said one ATM customer who asked not to be named.

Most of the people in the bank and the rest of the centre left the building before the fire department arrived.

Firefighters brought in fans to clear the fumes and Duncan Fire Chief Mike McKinlay confirmed shortly before 10 a.m. that a heat exchanger in the building failed, causing the fumes.

He said work was ongoing to clear the centre of the electrical fumes.

It’s the second incident in just two days in which a major building in Duncan had to be evacuated due to failing air conditioners during the ongoing heat wave.

RELATED STORY: MALFUNCTIONING AC SENDS SMOKE THROUGH DUNCAN BUILDING

The Duncan and North Cowichan South End fire halls responded to a call about smoke filling the Round Building next to the Duncan courthouse at about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9

Before long, there were five fire trucks in the area behind the round building and courthouse.

McKinlay said the air conditioning unit on the fifth floor failed and oil and other materials went into the building’s air conditioning system and started to smoke.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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